Starting my second year as the principal of the Ridgway Elementary School has been delighful!
The school is full of kind students and supportive parents and hard-working teachers. THis year we have 156 students enrolled in preschool through fifth grade. I am very proud of the staff at RES and am excited about the new programs we are implementing this year. A new math program is being used by all K-5 teachers. Bridges Math was developed by the University of Oregon and tested in many classrooms. The results are a curriculum that fully integrates the common core standards, demands more instuctional time yet allows students to be more active and teachers to do less whole class instruction.
During the first semester alll literacy teachers will be participating in a book study of The CAFE Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (also known in educational circles as "the sisters"). The book lays out a structure in which students are reading independently selected books, moving through literacy activities/stations each day, while teachers hold individual student conferences focused on reading strategies. I am excited to see further implementation of the program this year.
We have worked on selecting common assessments so that students and parents will experience the same type of assessment each year. This will make it much easier to observe student growth in the areas of reading, writing and math. These assessments are conducted three times a year by teachers so the results can be shared qucikly with students and parents. Grades 3-5 will be taking new state assessments starting in February of 2015. These assessments require students to do more critical thinking and a lot more writing. In preparation, we are trying to increase the quality and amount of writing our students are doing specifically in grades 3-5.
As a principal my goal is to ensure a safe and warm learning environment for all students and staff. The next goal is to help provide high-quality, standards-based instruction for all students each and every day. This is an on-ging goal slowly accomplished by working with teachers, administrators as well as reading professional journals and consulting with experts in education as well as representatives from the Colorado Department of Education. I am always seeking the best teaching practices to meet the many standards we are required to teach. There are so many educational programs and curriculums offered, yet I am looking for what is best for our students and staff. I want to have high expectations while protecting the innocence and joy of learning in an elementary school.